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Wireless Reviews

Wireless-N300 Router
At a glance
ProductLinksys Wireless-N300 Router (E900)   [Website]
SummaryInexpensive 2.4 GHz N300 router with 10/100 ports based on a Broadcom N Router SoC.
Pros• Relatively inexpensive
• 100 Mbps wire-speed routing
Cons• No guest WLAN
• No Internet service or URL blocking

Typical Price: $20  Buy From Amazon

Introduction

In a nod toward what most people still are buying these days, we're testing a few popular N300 and N600 class routers to flesh out the Charts, Finders and Rankers a bit more. This time I'm taking a quick look at Linksys' current entry-level N router, the E900.

We've actually seen this guy before as the Linksys E1200. So this review will mainly focus on the performance test results. It will also cover the E1200 v2, since as you'll see shortly, it's essentially the same as the E900.

According to Wikidevi, the E900 also uses same raw board as a Linksys E800. We'll come back to that when I look at the innards.

The E900 has the design aesthetic of the rest of Linksys' E series routers being designed to sit flat on a desk or shelf and without mounting slots on the bottom for wall-hanging. The single WAN and four switched LAN ports shown in the photo below are all 10/100 and there is no USB port for drive or printer sharing. The top of the router is clean and has no indicators to light you your bedroom at night. The callouts for the ports, indicators and buttons are shown below.

Linksys E900 callouts

Linksys E900 callouts

Inside

As noted above, the E900 is the same beastie as the E1200 v2. I forgot I already discovered this, but a look at Inside Story: Cisco Linksys EA Series reminded me. (The same board is also used in the N150 class E800 available at Target.) As the Inside Story points out, the hardware is the same for the E900 and E1200. But the E1200 supports guest access and Parental Controls while the E900 does not. The E900 is also dark grey, while the E1200v2 is black.

Linksys E900 & E1200 compared

Linksys E900 & E1200 compared

The board shot below shows the simple design, based around the Broadcom BCM5357 Intensi-fi XLR 802.11n Router Solution SoC. This device was also used in the original E1200 and in the E1500. It is also used in the NETGEAR WN3000RP and Linksys RE1000 wireless extenders, reviewed in the Single Band Wireless Extender Roundup.

Linksys E900 / E1200v2/ E800 board

Linksys E900 / E1200v2/ E800 board

The key components are summarized in Table 1.

  Linksys E900 (& E1200v2 & E800)
CPU Broadcom BCM5357C0
Intensi-fi XLR 802.11n Router Solution
Switch In BCM5357
RAM 32 MB
Flash 8 MB
2.4 GHz Radio In BCM5357
Table 1: Component summary

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